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The Waterstones Round Up: January's Best Books

Posted on 21st January 2020 by Mark Skinner

A new year means new books - lots of new books. Which of our selection for January will become your favourite reads of the year? There is an abundance of great publishing to choose from; spectacular debuts, compelling crime and some truly entrancing non-fiction all feature heavily in our first roundup of 2020. And for those of us looking to turn over a new leaf this month we also have a fantastic selection of books to help with those New Year's Resolutions. Start the new year as you mean to go on - with your head in a good book. 

Fiction

£14.99
Hardback
Out of stock
An incendiary novel of desperate love and pulse-quickening danger, American Dirt confronts the lawless frontier of the US-Mexico border in a scintillating narrative. With whip-smart pacing and an astounding ability to make the seemingly incredible both authentic and intimate, this is an enthralling page turner of the highest literary quality.

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£12.99
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Sprightly, topical and wonderfully involving, Kiley Reid’s freewheeling debut holds a mirror up to race, class and gender in twenty-first century America. In Alix, Reid has created a female protagonist who perfectly encapsulates the neuroses and contradictions of the day, whilst her witty, winningly crafted narrative marks Such a Fun Age out as a dazzling slice of contemporary fiction.

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£12.99
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Drenched in sinister rural gothic, Francine Toon’s eerie debut makes superbly unsettling use of the Scottish highlands to infuse the continuing aftershocks of a decade-old mystery with slowly encroaching dread. Steeped in brooding atmosphere and a hugely disquieting serenity, Pine comes complete with gorgeous sprayed edges bearing the elegant image of a pine tree.

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£16.99
Hardback
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Sweeping and lyrical, Allende’s multi-generational epic traces a richly evocative path through forty years of authoritarian rule in Spain, as witnessed by a group of disparate characters. Suffused with the author’s trademark brand of magical realism and a vibrant sense of time and place, A Long Petal of the Sea is vintage Allende.

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The author of the outrageous Look Who’s Back spins another bravura allegory, targeting the refugee crisis and transient celebrity amongst many other emotive and contentious themes. Brave, controversial and very, very funny, The Hungry and the Fat is a scintillating slice of satirical mayhem from a bold, maverick talent.
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£13.99
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Written with an intoxicating lyricism and surrealistic majesty, Yu’s kaleidoscopic odyssey of lost love, fractured identity and obscured mythology reads like no other novel of recent times. Bathed in exotic, dreamlike imagery and reminiscent of Murakami at his most inventive, Braised Pork is a hallucinogenic slice of modern Chinese fiction.
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Taking a sixteen year old girl’s coming-of-age party as a jumping off point to explore the dreams and struggles of a richly delineated cast of characters, Woodson’s stunningly assured work navigates three generations of black American history with verve and urgency.
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The bestselling author of The Lido returns with another bittersweet gem peopled by a stream of memorable characters. Set in the eponymous all-night establishment, Page crafts a heartwarming tale of companionship, hope and the vital importance of following your dreams.
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Exposing the unvarnished truth behind the confident and collected image that we sell to others, Adults is very much a novel of now. Fearless, funny and excruciatingly relatable, Unsworth’s dissection of the giddy delirium of the social media age hits just the right note of compassionate savagery.
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Inspired by a real-life literary mystery, Hornby’s deft reimagining of the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra feels wonderfully authentic and absorbing. Taking the strange burning of the great author’s letters as a tantalising jumping-off point, Miss Austen blends period charm and sustained narrative tension to spellbinding effect.

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Cha’s explosive novel takes an unflinching look at the second-generation immigrant experience and the long shadow of the Los Angeles race riots of the 1990s. Drawing rich parallels between the tumult of 27 years ago and the present day, Your House Will Pay also has pertinent things to say about intersectionality and belonging in Trump’s America.
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Crime & Thrillers

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Based on a single brilliant conceit, Hannah’s latest spine-tingling mystery enmeshes the reader in a series of ever more artful twists and red herrings right up until the final page. Structured with the skill of a true master of the form, Haven’t They Grown throbs with chilly malice and delicious malevolence.

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Treading a fine line between grisly murder mystery and outright horror, Tudor has forged a formidable reputation as Britain’s answer to Stephen King. The Other People’s insidiously creepy tale of vanished daughters and miles of sinister, menacing motorway confirms her place at the forefront of unputdownable thriller writing.

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£20.00
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Teaming a headstrong female Spanish officer with an irascible Glaswegian detective in a game of cat-and-mouse on the Costa Del Crime, May crafts a compelling standalone thriller imbued with the same propulsive narrative and whip-smart dialogue as his acclaimed Lewis Trilogy.

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This near-unbearably tense thriller is an outstanding novel that demands to be read in one sitting. As a blizzard engulfs the Somerset countryside, rogue shooters force a school into lockdown and a community into a cycle of panic, detection and a struggle for survival. Three Hours is both an exemplary page-turner and an insightful portrayal of radicalisation, rage and redemptive love.

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A short, sharp blast of Slough House style as Mick Herron treats us to another compelling novella of washed-up spooks and dangerous secrets. Laconic, witty and unputdownable, The Catch is another one-sitting wonder from spy fiction royalty.
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Viewing the dizzying bustle and danger of contemporary urban India through the eyes of a winning child narrator, Anappara’s tremendously accomplished debut is a singular take on the modern crime novel. Redolent of the bazaars and backstreets of the sub-continent, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line follows the exploits of three juvenile sleuths on the trail of a child stealer.
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Science Fiction & Fantasy

£18.99
Hardback
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Another spectacular broadside from the cult science fiction scribe, Agency skips between a post-apocalyptic London and an alternate San Francisco where Hilary Clinton was crowned President.

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A wickedly subversive tale of abstract, shape-shifting creatures battling the authoritarian Company, Dead Astronauts whirls with manic invention.
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Having conquered children’s fantasy with Artemis Fowl, Colfer brings his own unique brand of anarchic lunacy to an adult fantasy romp featuring rednecks on the wrong side of the law and a fire-breathing dragon hanging out in a Louisiana bayou. Wildly funny and driven by a cast of larger-than-life characters, Highfire is a genre-bending joy from a literary treasure.
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Biography

£16.99
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The final work from the award winning and inspirational journalist, Motherwell interrogates the psychological inheritance that we receive from our parents and how close family ties can prevent us from achieving cherished goals.

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This intensely powerful memoir of Auschwitz from Holocaust survivor Eddy de Wind carries an immediacy and documentary-like feel due to the remarkable fact that it was written entirely in the notorious death camp itself. Unflinching in its depiction of both chilling evil and stolen moments of love and hope, a haunting reminder of a period of history that must never be forgotten.

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Dr Rachel Clarke chronicles caring for her dying father with both professional insight and deeply personal reflection, in this thoughtful and ultimately uplifting meditation on mortality and the crucial work of the hospice.
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History & Politics



£25.00
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A remarkable insight into the bravery and determination of British Bomber Command crews, who flew perilous missions deep over Germany during World War II. Constructed largely from the recollections of the one surviving member of Comans crew, Price’s thoroughly involving account of acute danger and intense courage brings the past vividly to life.

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£16.99
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Exploding the myths of social equality and racial tolerance, barrister Hashi Mohamed delivers some highly personal yet rigorously researched testimony about how to succeed – or not – in today’s Britain. Enlightening and alarming in equal measure, People Like Us takes a hammer to the myths of social mobility with eloquence and passion.

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Home & Lifestyle

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With an emphasis on UK grown ingredients and eliminating wastage, Melissa Hemsley’s vibrant flexitarian cookbook is the perfect accompaniment to adopting a green lifestyle.
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£20.00
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Like being cooked a delicious and healthy meal by a couple of wise-cracking friends, Twochubbycubs: The Cookbook is the wonderfully fun and informal recipe guide from the wildly popular slimming blog. Boasting a hundred mouth-watering dishes that are impossibly low in calories, James and Paul Anderson’s style is as light as the fantastic food that blesses Twochubbycubs’ pages.
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The iconoclastic Smith has rocked the dieting world with his denunciations of the fads and fakes that dominate the industry, and, with Not a Diet Book, he takes a revolutionary, holistic view of the psychology and physiology of weight gain and loss. Pulling apart wider lifestyle choices and issues, Smith provides a provocative argument for why everything you think you know about dieting is wrong.
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Eschewing the quick fixes of crash diets, Jenkinson explores obesity holistically, examining genetics and metabolism as well as straightforward over-eating. Prizing nutrition over dramatic weight-loss programs, Why We Eat (Too Much) is a level-headed, thoughtful guide to healthier eating.
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£12.99
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With both serious repercussions for the environment and global inequality, fast, mass-produced clothing is one of the most pernicious obsessions embraced by the West. In this revelatory guide, Bravo demonstrates how we can all shop more ethically and sustainably and how a passion for fashion doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate a rotten, damaging industry.
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£12.99
Hardback
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A provocative exhortation to abandon following current affairs, Dobelli’s punchy polemic posits the idea that we would all be both healthier and happier if we shook off our addiction to the news. Written with clarity, precision and undeniable persuasion, Stop Reading the News is a short book that could just possibly change your life.

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£16.99
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In an age of echo chambers and multiple narratives, there is a lot of noise going on but very little listening. In this insightful, cogently reasoned book, Murphy extols the myriad virtues of this underused skill, drawing on enlightening testimony from everyone from priests to CIA agents. A thoughtful, eloquent volume that could transform not just your relationships but your own worldview as well.
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